Puppet MastersS


Stormtrooper

Saudis mobilise thousands of troops to quell growing revolt

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Saudi security forces in armoured vehicles responding to the threat of a Shia uprising this week
Saudi Arabia was yesterday drafting up to 10,000 security personnel into its north-eastern Shia Muslim provinces, clogging the highways into Dammam and other cities with busloads of troops in fear of next week's "day of rage" by what is now called the "Hunayn Revolution".

Saudi Arabia's worst nightmare - the arrival of the new Arab awakening of rebellion and insurrection in the kingdom - is now casting its long shadow over the House of Saud. Provoked by the Shia majority uprising in the neighbouring Sunni-dominated island of Bahrain, where protesters are calling for the overthrow of the ruling al-Khalifa family, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is widely reported to have told the Bahraini authorities that if they do not crush their Shia revolt, his own forces will.

The opposition is expecting at least 20,000 Saudis to gather in Riyadh and in the Shia Muslim provinces of the north-east of the country in six days, to demand an end to corruption and, if necessary, the overthrow of the House of Saud. Saudi security forces have deployed troops and armed police across the Qatif area - where most of Saudi Arabia's Shia Muslims live - and yesterday would-be protesters circulated photographs of armoured vehicles and buses of the state-security police on a highway near the port city of Dammam.

Wall Street

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Issues Layoff Warning Notices

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© AP Photo/Andy ManisIn this Feb. 1, 2011 file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued layoff warning notices on Friday to unions representing state workers as a three-week-long battle between Republican and Democratic lawmakers over union bargaining rights took a new turn.

In an e-mail announcing the layoff notices, the governor's office said that "if the Senate Democrats come back to Wisconsin, these notices may be able to be rescinded and layoffs avoided. Without Senate action within 15 days, individual employees may begin to receive potential termination notifications."

Walker did not specify the number of workers affected but said this week about 1,500 employees would be affected. Friday's warning notices do not count as official layoff notices.

The letters to the statewide bargaining units notified them that layoffs will be possible starting in April. It said that the action was "due to the delay in the Budget Repair Bill."

Magnify

Oil Settles at Highest Level Since September 2008

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© Unknown
Libya and US jobs report push oil prices above $104, to highest level since Sept. 2008

Oil prices rose past $104 a barrel to end the week at a 29-month high, as fighting in Libya intensified and the world's largest petroleum consumer, the U.S., reported that employers added nearly 200,000 new jobs in February.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.9 percent in February. While that's positive news for the economy, the report also suggests that more people are driving to work at a time when world oil supplies are under pressure because of unrest in Libya and the Middle East.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery gained $2.51 to settle at $104.42 per barrel in New York, the highest level since Sept. 26, 2008.

Gasoline prices have shot up an average of 35 cents per gallon since an uprising in Libya began in mid-February. A gallon of regular gained another 4.4 cents overnight to a new national average of $3.471 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service.

Footprints

Bernie Madoff: 'The whole government is a Ponzi scheme'

If there's one person who knows a Ponzi scheme, it's Bernie Madoff, the perpetrator of the largest one in world history. And now, locked away in prison, he claims that it wasn't just him, or even just the financial sector.
Madoff99
© Unknown

Madoff believes the entire US government is a Ponzi scheme.

In an interview with New York Magazine's Steve Fishman, Madoff sought to "set the record straight," and unloaded on the state of financial regulation in the United States and the impropriety of the banks.

Bizarro Earth

"Rigging" the Markets: Oil settles at highest level since Sept. 2008

Investors fret about rising demand as supply gets squeezed

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© Unknown
New York - Oil prices rose past $104 a barrel to end the week at a 29-month high, as fighting in Libya intensified and the world's largest petroleum consumer, the U.S., reported that employers added nearly 200,000 new jobs in February.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.9 percent in February. While that's positive news for the economy, the report also suggests that more Americans are driving to work at a time when world oil supplies are under pressure because of unrest in Libya and the Middle East.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery gained $2.51 to settle at $104.42 a barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level since Sept. 26, 2008.

In London, Brent crude rose $1.18 to settle at $115.97 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

Most of Libya's oil production has been shut down because of the crisis, and experts say the country's oil fields will be threatened as long as there's no clear leader in charge.

Comment: Investors fret about rising demand as supply gets squeezed? How can that be true if the value of the item which is demanded has a value that is skyrocketing? Would you fret if your oil stocks were making you lots of money? ...


Cell Phone

China plans to track Beijing citizens through their mobiles

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© Michael Reynolds/EPAHuman rights activists believe the Chinese government is exploiting mobile technology to control unrest.
Government claims technology will ease transport congestion, but experts warn it could be used to control dissent

Human rights campaigners have expressed concerns over plans to track every mobile phone user in Beijing through global positioning technology.

Chinese media reported this week that pilot schemes were being introduced for an "information platform of real-time citizen movement" to help with traffic management.

Li Guoguang, deputy director of the Beijing municipal science and technology commission, said the project would be used to tackle congestion by allowing officials to monitor the flow of people through the transport system.

"To some degree, [it] can effectively increase citizens' travelling efficiency and ease traffic jams," he told the Beijing Daily.

He added that citizens would be able to buy the information, although more sensitive information - such as the location of individuals - would not be available.

Evil Rays

Reporter quits in protest at British tabloid's 'anti-Muslim' coverage

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The Daily Star has been accused of printing fictional stories by a disgruntled reporter who has resigned over its "hatemongering" anti-Muslim propaganda.

In a resignation letter, Richard Peppiatt said he was leaving after the Star gave sympathetic coverage to the far-right English Defence League last month.

Peppiatt admits producing a number of fictional stories about celebrities during his two years at the tabloid, a practice he implies was sanctioned by his seniors.

The reporter, who was once made to dress up in a burqa, now accuses the paper of inciting racial tensions and Islamaphobia. "You may have heard the phrase 'the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil sets off a tornado in Texas'," Peppiatt wrote to the proprietor, Richard Desmond, in a letter seen by the Guardian.

"Well, try this: 'The lies of a newspaper in London can get a bloke's head caved-in down an alley in Bradford.' If you can't see that words matter, you should go back to running porn magazines."

MIB

Renault industrial espionage scandal may have been a hoax

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French car company admits the possibility that it was tricked - but motive remains a mystery

The French carmaker Renault is facing embarrassment after admitting that the spying scandal that prompted its biggest ever industrial espionage investigation may have been a hoax.

France's most famous company has acknowledged that it may have been tricked and has reasons to doubt it has been a victim of industrial espionage.

The saga of a suspected spy ring, in which insiders were thought to have sold secrets of its electric car technology to shadowy foreigners, has been likened by the French press to "an incredible thriller" worthy of John le Carré. When it emerged in January that three executives had been escorted from their offices at Renault's Technocentre outside Paris, the French government warned it was the victim of an "economic war". President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered his intelligence services to investigate a Chinese link, which threatened to trigger a diplomatic row.

Renault never detailed its exact accusations against the three executives but the investigation centred on alleged bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein through which the spies could have received cash for revealing Renault's secrets, in the competitive automobile world's race to produce the most effective electric cars.

Bad Guys

Terror Bots Being Designed to Hunt You Down

Robot Cheetah
© Boston Dynamics

A headless metal warrior stomps towards you, shooting. Fortunately, you've been training for a marathon and easily jet off to safety down an alleyway. But wait - - now a metal cheeta-bot is after you, racing faster than your puny legs can go. As the space between you and the galloping beast closes, you round a corner, see a door and dive through. It slams behind you. As you freeze, holding your breath, the robotic cat passes by outside with a wake of metallic echoes.

Relieved, you exhale into the dark. A fatal mistake - - outside, another robot has detected your breath and alerted the enemy to your location ...

Waking up from this nightmare is a way to save yourself, for now, but in fact all three 'terror' bots it featured are based on actual prototypes being developed in California and Boston (though not with directly malicious intentions). Here's an introduction to the motley three.

Arrow Down

Spin Doctor - Greenspan Says Government Activism Hampering U.S. Recovery

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© Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said a surge in U.S. government "activism," including fiscal stimulus, housing subsidies and new regulations, is holding back the economic recovery.

Increased bond issuance by the Treasury Department crowds out borrowers with the weakest credit ratings, Greenspan said in an article in International Finance, published on the Web today. At least half of the shortfall in companies' capital spending "can be explained by the shock of vastly greater government- created uncertainties embedded in the competitive, regulatory and financial environments" since the failure of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ) in 2008, Greenspan said.

Greenspan's conclusions fit with his long-held free-market ideology and may aid Republican lawmakers who argue that cutting federal spending now will help spur job growth. Critics including members of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission have said Greenspan's failure to regulate the mortgage market last decade helped fuel the housing bubble whose bursting precipitated the financial crisis.